Beamish - Living Museum of the North - October - November 2019

The Carrying of Passengers is Forbidden unfolded the hidden histories of motoring design, social policy and disability, through interdisciplinary research into the ‘invalid tricycle’, a three-wheeled vehicle issued to disabled users. It examined official, and obscured unofficial accounts and silences, to explore approximately 75 years of disability mobility provision by the UK Government and explain how a multitude of ‘sanctioned’ decisions led to a dangerous, yet liberational, dichotomic package of ‘care’.

The results of the research were presented in an exhibition, The Carrying of Passengers is Forbidden, which in stage one was thematically curated around the WW1 period as showcased in Liverpool and was further developed in stage two to include the WW2 period and the NHS for later exhibitions, such as at Beamish Museum. The exhibition took the form of a multimedia installation consisting of photographic research, video interview, period archive film, innovative 3D animation, toy tricycle, tricycle ephemera, art installation and the use of a period invalid tricycle.

An unprecedented collection of 11 invalid tricycles (many working) went on display as part of the October 2019 half term Transport Through Time event at Beamish. On a par with all other vehicles on display, tricycles were included centre stage supporting McKeown and his teams, The Carrying of Passengers is Forbidden exhibition, located within the newly built and popular bus station. Over 3 days, c.7000 visitors (Beamish email 2019) inspected the exhibition and its vehicles and asked questions of the multiple volunteers on hand. McKeown gave regular demonstrations of a working Tippen Delta on the museum’s two-mile circular road system. Because invalid tricycles were withdrawn from British roads in 2003, this living history was very popular, something which was not lost on curator Natasha Anson (Beamish). She said, “This isn't really a story which is being told".

Press data:

Beamish were on track for a tram-endous and bus-tling Transport Through Time event, which ran from Thursday, 24th October to Sunday, 3rd November 2019.

From creating your own Georgian map and a special Beamish transport ticket to racing Meccano creations and having a go at the bike dynamo, there were a whole host of transport-related activities to get involved with at the museum during October Half Term.

During October Half Term you could:

  • Collect your special Beamish transport ticket from the Entrance and get your ticket clipped as you spot different types of transport during your visit.
  • Draw your favourite route around the museum in the style of a Georgian map at 1820s Pockerley Old Hall.
  • See the latest innovation in Georgian technology at 1820s Pockerley Waggonway as you enjoy a steam train ride through the spectacular Georgian landscape. You can also meet the pack pony.
  • In The 1900s Town, have a go on the bike dynamo in the garage and create and race paper aeroplanes in the Masonic Hall.
  • Catch a steam train ride at Rowley Station from Saturday, 26th October to Sunday, 3rd November.
  • Build your own Meccano vehicle in the 1950s welfare hall and then race your creation across the room – will yours be the fastest?
  • Outside the tram depot, you can dress up in costume and sit in the driver’s seat of one of the Beamish buses.
  • Marvel at a tractor display at The 1940s Farm.
  • In the Open Stores, see the fascinating Step Back in Time exhibition, with objects including snow shoes, ice skates, roller skates and different types of shoes through the ages.
  • Meet Members of the Invalid Carriage Register (ICR)who presented their first-ever working demonstration of invalid carriages around the museum site from Thursday, 31st October until Sunday, 3rd November 2019. These vehicles provided independent transport for disabled people after the First World War. Also the ICR presented an exhibition entitled 'The Carrying of Passengers is Forbidden'.

Vehicles being unloaded and prepared for exhibition at Beamish.

Tippen Delta being driven around the Beamish two-mile circuit.

A Tippen Delta, made in Coventry being driven around the Beamish circuit.

Volunteer Kathryn Barnett at the Carrying of Passengers is Forbidden exhibition.

McKeown with a 1960s Tippen Delta at Beamish